James Cameron tells us about Avatar 2 and the outrageous Vision AVTR concept
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James Cameron tells us about Avatar 2 and the outrageous Vision AVTR concept

Roadshow
Legendary director James Cameron is launching a concept car with Mercedes Benz a concept car that's unlike anything you've seen before. We spoke with James and Mercedes Chairman Ola colonias to ask them how this car came to be? Well, it's interesting. I think we kind of found each other. We were looking for a corporate sponsor that would be aligned with us philosophically, and Mercedes was looking for a way, To capture the attention of the public about their new sustainability push, and their new philosophy, and their new vision for the next two decades. And so it [UNKNOWN] being a natural fit wasn't obvious at first, but the more we understood from Ola and from his team You know what they were trying to say, quite resoundingly with their new vehicle fleet and their mission to go carbon neutral by 2030 and 2039 and other other goals, I mean, it all made sense, because everything I'm doing right now including the avatar films with all my other investments and activities are all around sustainability. And I don't mean token sustainability, I mean long term human sustainability, how are we going to do this? How are we gonna survive? What kinda world we gonna give to our grandkids? And older can you walk me through some of the concepts here that are established in this vision for the future and how that works with Mercedes Benz and with the film With this car in a shell car like this, we tried to give people a glimpse of the future and really look far into the future. I think one of the technological highlights here is, for instance, on the propulsion side is an organic based cell chemistry for the battery, which means you actually have a complete closed loop. You're not digging the hole in the ground and pulling out metals and then creating this chemistry. It will be a close loop. And even if it sounds a little bit like science fiction, it's actually things that we're working on in an early research states. So this could happen. Another thing that I think is amazing and you really experience when you're inside the car is that Car is usually a cocoon, but you are detached your remote from what's going on outside. Here it feels like the outside is coming into the car. So you're in a safe cocoon, but at the same time you feel like you're outside. Connected. Connected, that's an amazing feeling. This control unit in the center of the car, it feels you, It feels your pulse you're breathing. It's almost so intuitive that before you know you want to do the Car was knows it before you and the car comes to you. You just don't have to learn anything. It is intuitive and natural James in the films The characters have cues or ponytails basically to interface with some of the vehicles that they use. We don't have those so how is that kinda replicated through the the expression of the car here? Well, I think all his design team for this concept car have tried to do As much as you can do given the human biology, we don't have that fancy little USB port that we can plug in to nature. But playing in to nature is a philosophical idea to symbolic thing. In the move it's symbolic. So if you thought of the movie as the kind of concept vehicle, You know, for the ideas, the real world ideas that we're trying to express. That's what this does. It expresses ideas. It says, you know, we want you to be more in touch with the vehicle. We want you to be more in touch with technology. We want you to be more connected to the nature outside the windows. And so the vehicle responds in a very biological way. It almost seems like it's alive. In addition to some of those communications, we also got a lot of advanced lighting in this car. We're definitely seeing some advancements there and a lot of concept cars. But to walk me through some of the lighting techniques using the car, and what does it actually signify? How does the car communicate with people using lighting? Well, that's a thing that is going to be relevant way before we get into this distant future Yeah, if you think about a world where cars are going to be autonomous at one stage, then of course the car needs to communicate with the people. We have developed the lighting technology that we have already put into production, where each headlamp has 1.3 million pixels. So you can, it's a movie camera, it's actually a movie camera, you could have parked in your garage and watch a movie but this will enable cars soon to project things onto the road. Telling other people that are interacting that are in this traffic environment what the car wants to do or is about to do. So yes, communicating with the outside next to of course communicating with the passengers or the driver on the inside is going to be increasingly important. James, I know you're a big proponent of electrification in general. What are your thoughts on the current EV market out to the cars that are on the market right now and how that's going. Look, we're in a rapid growth phase and everybody's looking at it. And I think that what I see with Mercedes in the near term and projecting out Is they're doing it right by staying open-minded as to whether it's going to be electrochemical battery technology based on rare earth metals or whether it's going to be fuel cells or now with this organic battery technology that they're putting some hard research dollars into. We don't know where it's all gonna wind up. Obviously we're striving toward higher power densities and, and that sort of thing. But I think the important thing is just do it, get into it, learn it and you know all the, all the big auto companies have to get in and learn it, learn the, Learn the market and learn the, Learn the problems, and it'll be it's like an evolutionary arms race like the Cambrian explosion, if you know, if you know your evolutionary. History where all these new life forms are going to emerge while all these new types of technologies are gonna emerge rapidly because we need them. We've gotta get off fossil fuels, that's a given and so it's just a question of how we're gonna do it. And how important are concept cars like this in that learning process? It's real easy to see this, it's just kind of a marketing exercise but is a company, as you're learning from devices like this in terms of the way forward the right way to create a car like this in the future? It is very important and actually the people that are responsible for creating these types of visionary show cars, is the R&D department. So yes, it's also a marketing exercise and of course, we're in the business of entertaining and you know, creating excitement. But underlying our hardcore substantial technological developments. So it also gets the R&D team to rally around something that's quite exciting and go a little bit crazy and think about things that we don't know how to technically solve today. But make up a solution and then start working in that direction. So yes, important for us. James, you're responsible for some of the most iconic sci fi vehicles out there the APC and aliens. The various hundred killers, the Terminator films. What are some of your favorite sci fi vehicles from from other films that maybe didn't work out? Well, I always liked this better from Blade Runner and this car kinda reminds me a little bit of that. You know, I mean, science fiction is so much fun in movies because you can try all kinds of things. I mean, I'm sure everybody will pop to mind with the things they like. I like that, I like the aircraft and oblivion. You know, these are just really nice designs. And I love working with with some of the world's best designers I'd love to be able to share with you a lot of the designs we have for the new movies. Because I like the tech side of it as much as I like the organic side. I love creature design. I love creating, you know underwater landscapes and Forest Landscapes and all the different biomes of. A Pandora, but I also love the hard stuff, you know the vehicle spacecraft, aircraft, ground vehicles, you know weapons of the hardware. I'm a total geek when it comes to that stuff and I love working with Ben Proctor and his team who is up here on the stage just to see what they're gonna come up with next and we've got a bunch of see vehicles, bunch of Submarines and underwater vehicles and ocean surface vehicles coming up. And they're all based as, I'd say that I think we do in reverse what you do. We take the science fiction and we move toward the science and real technology and we try to ground it in things that are actually possible and have even been demonstrated whereas you're going the other direction from totally existing technology but looking out into the science fiction world for inspiration. We're sort of meeting in the middle really. And so does that mean we'll be seeing a lot more vehicles in Avatar 2 and the following films after that? Absolutely, we have a lot of cool vehicles for you. [LAUGH] That's great, can you give us any more details on any of those at this point? Well, all you have to do is just come by my house in a couple of years. They'll all be parked out front. That's an invitation I would gladly take it. I know you're a Corvette guy. So I gotta ask you what are your thoughts on this car going mid engine? Well, I think it's, it's kind of in a way overdue. I mean, we've known how you know, mid engine creates a certain balance, but there's something sort of innately Corvette about that big engine, that big, long nose And so you know, there's a part of me that wants to see it doesn't want to see it go and there's a part of me that says, guys, how long have we been looking at these front engine? Corvettes? You know let's let's change with the times. So although we're seeing an interesting expression of sustainability and luxury together that's a bit of a challenging mix right now but ultimately something that I think we've seen more companies do a better job of mixing together can you walk me through how both of those values are represented here? Mercedes has always been about innovation. Of course, the founding fathers of our company, they invented the car. So this brand as always needs to stand for the promise of a better future. And at the point where we are today as world, as a society, it's absolutely clear to us. We need to solve the CO2 problem. Yeah. So what is in our world, modern luxury needs to become sustainable, modern luxury. It's not like a nice to have it is a must. And I think it's at the core of what we think we should be and stand for as a brand. So we're changing everything we do with that greater goal in mind. It's not just about the product. It's a holistic approach. It's about the production process. You got to look into the supply chain. You even have to look at your customers. If you buy an electric Mercedes, that can you enable them to sign up for a contract for green, green electricity at their home, things like that. And don't just look at the one thing that you do. But think about this challenge in a broader sense, because that's the only way the problem can be addressed. Okay. I'd just like to say when I first met Ola, he said something that stuck in my mind. He said, I don't wanna be the last dinosaur when the comet comes, I wanna be the first mammal. The Comet's coming, meaning change is inevitable. Be ahead of the curve and that's what they are doing. Great, gentlemen thank you very much. So I've gotten my way into the Vision AVTR concept. And this is unlike any other car I've ever been before, obviously there is no steering wheel in front of me, there is really not much of anything in front of me at all, just these massive projected surface Get rolls gold highlights around me, speakers that are integrated all around, and the windscreen that comes all the way up over my head. It's very different than any other car I've been in before and also acts very differently too. It's kind of alive, it's very organic, and we're gonna walk through some of the features of the car. All right, we lowered the lights a little bit, we're gonna get the car booted up. And interestingly, I don't use a key or anything like that, I actually need to put my hand on the center console. But I wanna point out first that this is a Moving up and down in the very strange and organic way my seats actually pulsing like a heartbeat and start the car just put my hand here. And now everything sort of vibrates, like a little bit of a tingling sensation, the car swirling coming to life again in a very organic way. And now it's going to take me through some of the things we're seeing around me in the real world. Basically this projected interface is designed to give me a little bit more information about what I'm seeing around me. I kind of like a seamless integration between the world outside the car and this display here within the car. So as I'm moving through the world, driving along now it's going to give me a little bit more detail a little bit more information on the POS that are around me For example is showing me some mountains in China right now and give me some coordinates a little bit more details about that. We're also going to look at the Hyperion tree is we're driving that in California. You can imagine driving by some of these landmarks you might see off in the distance wanting to know more about. About them, the car can tell you about it. And now things are getting a little bit more interesting moving on to the AVTR part of the car, we are looking at some of the things that you will see in Pandora so getting a little bit more fantastic and and certainly living up to the nature and the name of this concept car. Other interesting thing about this car is reading my biometric data. It knows my heartbeat so we can tune itself according to what I want. But I can also share that information with my kids in the backseat so my kids can know my heart rate. So they can know that they're stressing me up. But that might be a little bit dangerous. Kids in the backseat can also get into an infotainment system, their own learning games and things like that. And ultimately, this is just a very different experience, very different way to be in a car than anything we've ever seen before. There are a lot of different kinds of concept cars, some of the ones we see at auto shows we expect to see go into production in just a year or two, others are a little bit further down the road. This car from Mercedes Benz, I wouldn't expect to actually see it ever enter production. This is one of those things that's more about making a statement, to launch some ideas of some concepts into the public conscious Things that Mercedes Benz really wants to hang his hat on. One of the core ideas here is sustainability and things like that battery that's not only all organic and recyclable. That's even compostable. There's nothing like that on the market today. But something like that is definitely pointing to the virtues that Mercedes Benz wants to exhibit. And other things like the way the car kind of reads your mind reads your body reads your heart rates. Again, those are great ideas to create a car that can be better at tuning itself around what you want on any given day on any given drive. These are again important concepts from Mercedes Benz a wall is going to be a long time if we can bring any of these to production. Again they're pretty important stuff and pretty exciting stuff that I hope we see down the road. As far as the movie goes. James Cameron was not particularly talkative about the next film, but he did give us some interesting sound bites about vehicles, boats and submarines and other cool stuff like that. It sounds like the next movie could be a little bit more vehicle based and that makes me pretty excited. We're still waiting to see exactly what's going to come to market. Hopefully sometime before this car comes to market.

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